British Sailors and American Marines

Previous chapter


Next chapter

March 14, 1984

Spartacist League/Britain

Dear Comrades:

As a member of a tendency which has recently submitted a reapplication to the iSt, I read with considerable interest A. Gilchrist’s reapplication in Spartacist Britain No. 53 (December 1983/January 1984). I must say that I found Cde. Gilchrist’s auto-critique on the Falklands war to be quite striking, particularly in light of some correspondence which we have been carrying on of late with the Spartacist League/US. Cde. Gilchrist stated that:

“What a nationally-limited stance becomes in this period was glaringly revealed in the position I took on the Falklands war.... The position of “Withdraw the Fleet” was a position of defending the imperialist armed forces from destruction by another anti-Soviet military. The Falklands war tested every tendency on the British left in the clearest way, because war is the period of greatest nationalist pressures. This Bennite position was a clear capitulation to the ‘socialist’ chauvinism of the Labour Party...”

(Emphasis in the original)

But if calling for the British military to be withdrawn from the Falklands (without even stipulating that they should be brought out “alive”) is a position of “defending the imperialist armed forces,” then what is one to make of the SL/US’ call for “Marines Out of Lebanon, Now, Alive” after the famous truck-bombing last October? “‘Socialist’ chauvinism” seems, if anything, a bit mild.

Bolshevik greetings,
T. Riley
for the External Tendency of the iSt